March of Dimes urges Congress to act on Zika Virus - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

March of Dimes urges Congress to act on Zika Virus

Amy Johnson-Rubio, maternal and child health director for March of Dimes (Source: KCBD) Amy Johnson-Rubio, maternal and child health director for March of Dimes (Source: KCBD)
(Source: KCBD) (Source: KCBD)
Online petition (Source: March of Dimes) Online petition (Source: March of Dimes)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

In the fight against Zika, a local non-profit organization is taking it up with Congress.

Maternal and Child Health Director at March of Dimes, Amy Johnson-Rubio, says Zika is preventable.

"Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, pre-term birth, and infant mortality," she explains. "So, we are especially concerned about the birth defects that can be caused by Zika."

She says she is passionate about their fight against Zika.

"If we can do all of the right things, we can prevent the disease from spreading," she says. "But, we have to be very proactive and, you know, it leads to devastating birth defects that can be prevented. So, it's something we need to be passionate about."

So, March of Dimes is taking their fight to Congress.

"We have been lobbying Congress to appropriate funds to slow the spread of Zika and to research a vaccine," Johnson-Rubio explains. "However, Congress did go on their August recess without doing so, so we're very disappointed about that."

But, that doesn't mean the fight is over.

"It's going to continue to be an issue. So, we will be lobbying for those funds to be appropriated. There's also a petition on our website at MarchofDimes.org that people can sign to urge Congress to act."

But in the meantime, Johnson-Rubio urges folks to be proactive.

"At this point, we don't have the Zika virus being carried by mosquitoes in the Lubbock area, but that could come in the future," she says. "We want people to be prepared for that and to be in the habit of wearing insect repellent, of wearing long sleeves and long pants if they're going to be outside when mosquitoes are out, of emptying standing water – that's very important."

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved. 

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